We Are Learning 3D Printing Through Our Personal Experience…
The XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 SLA 3D printer is currently one of the most affordable that uses the more detailed Stereolitography technology for curing liquid resin with an UV laser, producing higher quality prints as compared to the more common FDM/FFF 3D printers using thermoplastics. Earlier this year, when the Nobel 1.0 was announced it looked like a really good alternative to some other more expensive SLA 3D printers and although we like FormLab’s 3D printers they are still quite more expensive. So recently we have decided to go for the Nobel 1.0 as an expansion of our 3D printers lab in order for us to start using SLA 3D printing as well and dig deeper into the technology. Now it is time to share our initial impressions after using the XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 3D printer for a while, so if you are interested in SLA 3D printers and are on a more limited budget you will most likely be interested in this device as well.
The Nobel 1.0 3D printer, like most other SLA 3D printers, comes with a smaller build volume than you might’ve gotten used to from FDM/FFF devices, but offers higher printing resolution that comes with slower build times unfortunately. The device itself is affordable and you might end up getting it for less than you might need to pay for an FDM/FFF 3D printer, however the UV resin that the device uses as a material for printing is the expensive part along with the resin reservoir that also needs to be replaced from time to time. The result is that you get better quality prints, but the material that SLA 3D printers can be multiple times more expensive and there are other consumables like the resin tank that make printing even more expensive. Furthermore the Nobel 1.0 3D printer can be used officially only with the official XYZprinting resin as the bottles with the material come with an RFID tag that the printer uses for keeping track of the remaining liquid in order for the resin tank auto refill functionality to work. So far the choice of resins that are made to work with the Nobel 1.0 is quite limited and there is no official support for other more affordable or different type of resins from third parties, so this is a bit of a problem.
The Nobel 1.0 is relatively easy to get started up with and produces good results. As with other SLA 3D printers when the printed part is ready you need to take some extra steps such as cleaning the part with alcohol in order to remove any remaining liquid from the solid part. Also, like with many other printers using the same technology when you remove the 3D printed part from the build platform it is still not fully cured – the object is still softer to to the touch and you need to be careful. This makes it easy to remove any support materials for example or do some post-processing before you finalize it by further curing the part with some UV light at which point the part will become very strong and fully cured. As for the printing time, well, you need to be ready to wait more, especially if you decide to increase the printing quality more than the standard level of 0.1mm – usually the highest quality on FDM/FFF 3D printers. Do note that unlike some other 3D printing software with the XYZware that the Nobel 1.0 uses if you have a problem with your 3D model file it will most likely end up with a broken sliced part that will not print at all, so make sure that you have no issues with the 3D file that you import for printing. So, in general we are happy with the results we are getting from the Nobel 1.0 3D printer so far, we haven’t had any issues with it yet resulting in failed prints, but there are some limitations such as the need to use only official materials that we are don’t like that much.
We’ve received a sample of the Magigoo 3D printing adhesive and were eager to try it out. Magigoo is supposed to work with both ABS and PLA materials as well as others and has been specifically designed to keep the 3D print firmly stuck to the bed while printing thus resolving the “first layer not sticking” problem. The idea of this product is to help the 3D printed part to stick while the build plate is hot and to allow the easily removed when the build plate gets cold. The 3D printing adhesive is intended to be used on surfaces such as glass or Kapton tape for example that usually do have some trouble with prints sticking to them well if you do not have a heated build plate. Magigoo is originally designed to be used with heated build plates, but it will also work on cold beds, though the effect might not be not be as good when you have a HBP available. We have tested it with a glass build plate and with glass with BuildTak on top of it with both cold and hot build plate using PLA and ABS filaments and we do plan to continue with ome more exotic filaments as well. Before starting the test we were actually most interested in the effect of Magigoo on BuildTak as this is so far the surface we have found to work best for our 3D printing needs.
The Magigoo 3D printing adhesive is very easily applied and you need to wait a bit for it to dry out on the surface before you start printing, if you are using a heated build plate it can dry even faster than on cold bed. On glass it works great with both PLA and ABS, even printing multiple times without reapplying more Magigoo after each print and you still get good results. The 3D printing adhesive works great for PLA on cold build plate – sticks well and is easily removed, but using ABS on cold plate still leads to warping of our test prints, although the prints have a bit less warping. The temperatures we used for the heated build platform was 50 degrees Celsius for PLA and 100C for ABS and with these settings Magigoo worked great – the printed parts stick very well and are then very easy to be removed.
With BuildTak covering the glass surface we have experienced interesting results. Magigoo works well in general, but not as good on glass. When we try to remove the 3D printed model it detaches with all of the Magigoo that was applied on the BuildTak surface and is not so easily removed as from glass, but it is still easier to remove as compared to when using BuildTak without Magigoo. Still the good thing is that using Magigoo on BuildTak still helps a bit to make removal easier and to reduce the wear level of the surface, one of the biggest issues it has due to the too good sticking properties that the BuildTak has.
In short, we are happy with the results that the Magigoo 3D printing adhesive provides in helping 3D printed parts to stick better on surfaces such as glass where they may have trouble sticking well on and then making it easier to remove the finalized parts from the build plate. If you are using BuildTak as a print surface you already should have great adhesion, so Magigoo won’t help in that, and due to the good adhesion the removal of 3D printed parts from BuildTak even with Magigoo is still not that easy as when using glass. The greatest problem we still have with BuildTak surfaces is that they wear off and can be easily damaged while trying to remove larger objects that stick too well on the surface and thus you end up having to buy more often new build surfaces. So if you are using BuildTak, the Magigoo is probably not going to be very useful for you, but if you use glass or Kapton tape then the 3D printing adhesive might be a great addition to your 3D printing tools, making your life easier.
Magigoo is already available for order and you can purchase an applicator bottle containing the 3D printing adhesive that should last for over 100 prints for a price of 15 Euro without VAT and get it shipped Worldwide to you for additional 5 Euro. There is also an option for a more expensive express shipping within the European Union available.
The Micro 3D Printer looked like one of our favorites for a compact and affordable solution that should be a great choice for a first 3D printer to get started, so we have ordered one and have been using it for some time. We are now ready to share some feedback based on our experience with the device and the reason why we have decided that we need to move on and continue our search for a better solution. When the M3D printer arrived we were surprised on how small actually is the device, yet it was fully functional and offered a decent size for printing parts. The printer also had some nice and interesting ideas implemented such as the auto calibration/leveling apparently based on an accelerometer in the print head. Or the ability to work with smaller filament spools that fit inside as well as with regular filament fed to the printer trough an external inlet. The fact that the M3D printer has a pretty affordable price of $349 USD and you can have it shipped internationally along with everything else definitely attracts user’s interest.
The software of the printer has been in constant development and while it lacks some more advanced features it supports all the basic things you need along with some advanced controls available to users. Initially you did not have a choice of alternative software, but it seems that Simplify3D has added support for the device, though we no longer have the printer to test with that alternative 3D printing software that we like and use for quite some time already. So if you need more advanced software than the default one you might want to go to Simplify3D, it should have it all covered for more advanced users. What we did not like that much initially about the M3D printer is the fact that it uses a lot of custom parts that were initially not available as spare parts, such as the BuldTak build plate surface cover or spare parts for the extruder etc, though now some of these are being sold as spare parts.
Regarding the usage of the device, it works pretty well, although a bit slow, but the thing that we were least happy with was the level of quality it produced. You can say that we are a bit biased about the level of quality and kind of expected too much, the resulting prints do look quite good, but if you have used a larger and more serious 3D printer already you might not be too happy from the results. If the M3D is your first 3D printer than you will probably be Ok with the level of quality you will be getting, though we have not seen that much improvement when going to the higher levels of detail. There are also some things that you need to get familiar with when using the device, such as the fact that it is designed to be used with rafts when 3D printing a model. It is a software specific, you can still print without a raft, but the base of your 3D printed model will not end up all nice and smooth.
In short, the M3D printer is a decent choice for a first 3D printer to get you started, especially nice for kids that are interested in 3D printing, but it is just the first step. If you decide that you want to continue in the world of 3D printing after the first step that the M3D might provide you with, then you would probably quickly want to go for something more serious and get a larger and much better 3D printer. We already got rid of the Micro 3D printer after playing a bit with it and will continue our search for even better affordable solution that could be a great choice for getting started in the world of 3D printing.